Zach Marshall is a golden boy three times over.
The 12 year-old kickboxer, from Castletown, has just flown home from the Unified World Championships in Italy, where he claimed three golds and a bronze.
Zach, who trains at the Spartan Fighting Academy, won gold in the 56kg light continuous in the ring, light continuous on the mats and UFR rules (involving one round of boxing, one round of kickboxing and one of low kicks) categories.
Mum Donna is Zach’s biggest fan. “He has been competing for about four years,” she said.
“He has been training for five - he started when he was seven.”
Zach scooped his first World Championship in Switzerland in 2012 - when he was just nine. “He takes it very seriously - he wants to be a UFC star when he is older,” said Donna.
The tournament was absolutely huge but Zach just stepped up and did what he had to do.Donna Marshall
Zach’s latest success saw him taking on fighters from around the world in Carrara, near Pisa.
“It was fabulous but very tiring,” said Donna.
“The tournament was absolutely huge but Zach just stepped up and did what he had to do.”
Zach’s latest wins come on the back of a successful tournament at the Seaburn Centre which saw him lift the World Kickboxing Association Junior English Full Contact title.
Many parents would be worried to see their child take part in such a tough sport, but Donna and Zach’s dad Stephen are confident Zach is getting the best training. “I don’t worry about his safety because he is in really good hands with his coach,” she said.
“I am just really happy for him, to be honest.”
Donna says the cost of ferrying Zach from tournament to tournament is more than offset by seeing him develop.
“It is definitely worth it. It has made him very responsible,” she said.
“He is my son, so I think he is special, but it’s not just me. The head teacher from his school, Castle View Academy, has been telling us about how mature he is for his age, how he helps people.
“He trains with a variety of people and he has had to learn responsibility and how to control himself. It is something he loves to do and he loves the rewards it brings.”